The following appeared on the front page of the National Business Review, 17 January 1997. I've quoted one or two relevant sentences from the (rather sizeable) article here under fair use, to get the full article you'll have to go to the National Business Review (NBR).

Encryption exporters say state spy input unwanted

By Stephen Ward

The top secret Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), responsible for electronic intelligence, has been accused of unnecessarily interefering with exports of encryption software for computer programs.


GCSB executive director Hugh Wolfensohn said the bureau's general policy was not to comment on specific cases it was involved with or operational matters [1].


MFAT said it monitors planned exports of encryption technology because of fears it might get into the wrong hands. "The main risk with powerful encryption algorithms is that they may be diverted to terrorist or criminal ends", said MFAT spokesman John Borrie. Mr Borrie said a final decision on export of Cryptlib had still not been made [2].


He [Alan Owen of the Australian Defence Signals Directorate] said GCSB made export decisions on encryption matters for MFAT [3]. DSD had initially become involved after GCSB ruled that export of the full-strength Cryptlib software should not go ahead - GCSB had asked DSD if it would have acted the same way if the case had been in Australia. DSD said it would have.

[1] Never Say Anything.

[2] This was a month after the first news reports that the company who had applied for the export was experiencing considerable financial difficulties because they couldn't obtain a product to ship.

[3] It's not until the reporter asked someone in Australia that he finally got anyone to openly admit this.